There are two kinds of people in the world: those who pee in the shower, and those who don't. The happy-go-lucky individuals in the first camp see nothing wrong with multitasking, while many in the second are disgusted by the idea of urinating anywhere but into a toilet.
Now, a pair of environmentally minded university students are targeting you shower-peeing skeptics with their new campaign, #GoWithTheFlow. Debs Torr and Chris Dobson of Norwich's University of East Anglia (UEA) have run the numbers: Dobson told BBC News that if each of his university's 15,000 students saved a flush per day by peeing in the shower, in "over a year we would save enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool 26 times over." All students need to do, reads #GoWithTheFlow's Facebook page, is "Wake up. Pee in the Shower. Save Water. Save the Planet." Simple enough, right?
We did a back-of-the-napkin calculation to gauge how much water New York City could save with this technique. To start, some 8,405,837 people live in New York City (keeping in mind the margin of error that arises from including babies and children who aren't yet at showering age). If each New Yorker takes a shower per day, and each flush uses about 12 liters (a little over three gallons) of water (the figure that the #GoWithTheFlow campaign uses), New York City stands to save 36,817,566,060 liters of water over the course of a year via one meager shower-pee per person per day. That's the equivalent of the contents of 14,727 Olympic swimming pools (2.5 million liters each).
For those who are anxious about sanitation, never fear: Urine isn't toxic, and (especially since it's immediately washed down the drain) those of the shower-pee persuasion face no related health risks. This water-saving habit, however, is not recommended for bath time. Not that bath pee would be dangerous, per se. Just sort of gross.